The slick appeal of the Ajay Devgn-Emraan Hashmi starrer retro era underworld saga Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai managed to bring back the queues and the 'House Full' board at the ticket counters this weekend.
"Once Upon... has been rocking on the screens in terms of numbers. It has had the biggest opening overseas ever, especially in Dubai, for any Ajay Devgn- or Emraan Hashmi-starrer," Sunny Khanna, senior vice president, Balaji Motion Pictures, told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
"It has even had the biggest opening in terms of a Diwali release, like last year's All The Best that had Ajay and Sanjay Dutt," he added.
Trade sources claim the movie has grossed over Rs. 30 crore (Rs 300 million) in the domestic market in its initial run and is expected to touch the Rs. 75 crore gross mark in its overall run worldwide. In the Middle-East, "Once Upon..." grossed around AED 1 million (close to Rs.13 million) in Dubai in four days (as movies release on Thursdays there).
Multiplexes too are going gaga over the movie's business.
"The movie is a super duper hit. We have had an average occupancy of 92 per cent for the initial weekend with 15 shows that went housefull on Sunday. The film has been appreciated by one and all and we are expecting a good run over the week, and a definite second week run," Amit Awasthi, senior manager (programming and operations) of Spice Cinemas, told IANS.
Added Yogesh Raizada, corporate head (cinemas) of Wave Cinemas: "It was a rocking weekend with 80-90 per cent occupancy. The content, star cast, story and acting - all has been appreciated. Every actor fits into his or her character. It will sustain this week and it will have a second week run too definitely."
Produced by Balaji Telefilms for close to Rs.32 crore (Rs.320 million), including marketing and distribution costs, the starcast of the Milan Luthria directed action drama also includes Kangana Ranaut, Prachi Desai and Randeep Hooda.
Set primarily in 1970s Mumbai, Once Upon... traces the changing face of the Mumbai underworld seen through the eyes of a police officer (Randeep).
The crime thriller follows the rise of Sultan (Ajay) and his eventual debacle when his protégé Shoaib (Emraan) challenges his supremacy and usurps power to rule the murky underbelly of the city.
"The opening for the movie has been really well and it has had a decent occupancy of 60-65 per cent. The content has been appreciated and it looks like a promising week. It should definitely have a second week run too," said Deepak Taluja, senior vice president (business and operations) of Fun Cinemas.
Added Amit Shah, chief manager (programming) of DLF DT cinemas: "The weekend was good with 'Once Upon...' It is a must-watch film. Friday and Saturday were good and steady but it picked up very well Sunday onwards, courtesy reviews and word of mouth. We have had an overall average occupancy of 60-65 per cent over the weekend."